Bad news for Boris Johnson at 5.35am – Politics

Oliver Dowden should have been in the UK news channel studio Friday morning to discuss the results of Thursday’s by-election. Dowden is party chairman Conservatives is co-chair alongside Boris Johnson as well as a minister without portfolio. He’d done it many times before: while sitting in the TV studios defending Johnson, his loyalty to his boss often seemed unrestricted. But this, it turns out, was a misjudgment. Oliver Dowden didn’t come to the TV studio on Friday, but he quit. He sent his message, including his resignation letter, at 5:35 am local time.

The resignation of a senior cabinet member at half past five in the morning is always bad news for the government. In the case of Dowden, this was also a surprise and it is said that Boris Johnson was also surprised by the news. Literally: Johnson is currently in Rwanda for a Commonwealth meeting, Dowden called Johnson right there before sending his letter. Just at this point, the press reported, Johnson was swimming in a hotel pool in Kigali.

Dowden wrote in his Letter to the Prime Minister, “Business as usual” can no longer exist, “someone has to take responsibility.” The letter is succinct and sounds as if Dowden wants, politely, to distance himself from the man he has defended for so long. He ends by saying that he, Dowden, will always remain loyal to the party. Not a word from Johnson.

Johnson must explain to his group how he intends to follow these results

The reason for Dowden’s resignation was a night about which there will be much more to be said in political London. Two by-elections were held in the UK on Thursday, in Wakefield and in Tiverton and Honiton; Tory MPs from both constituencies have recently been forced to resign due to various scandals. Both are very distinctive places for the country’s political geography: Wakefield is located in the Midlands, England, and the constituency is one of the constituencies won by the Labor Tories in 2019. Tiverton & Honiton is in the Southwest, where the Tories have won all elections since 1924, including 2019 by an overwhelming majority of almost 25,000 votes.

That the overnight counting showed that not only the Labor Party had recovered Wakefield but also the Liberal Democrats’ victory at the deeply conservative Tiverton in the biggest shift in Tory history was too much for Dowden.

Not only for him, Johnson’s numerous critics from his own party spoke again on Friday. Only recently has the prime minister scarcely won a vote of no confidence, but according to the party’s statutes, no further votes should be held for a year. But MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the mighty 1922 Tory Committee, told BBC radio that Johnson was sure to explain to both the cabinet and parliamentarians in the next few days how he intended to proceed. “We will then have to judge whether this explanation is satisfactory or whether we should take steps to replace the Prime Minister.” No rule is sacred, of all people Johnson should know.

Polls show that even Tory voters are unhappy

Johnson’s supporters, in turn, underlined what they said after other recent local and by-election losses: failures in the mid-term elections are perfectly normal. But that’s only half the truth: On the one hand, there are enough examples of British rule losing by the by-election less clearly and more frequently than Johnson’s Tories. Since 2019, the Conservatives have only won three of the ten by-elections. In two of them, the MP in office died tragically, devoutly destroying local election campaigns.

On the other hand, polls show that even Tory voters are dissatisfied with how they deal with current problems such as rising living costs or railroad strikes. They affect the whole country this week, but instead of negotiating solutions with unions, the Tories are sending emails to their constituents blaming the opposition for strikes. “Stop workers strikes” was, in all seriousness, the subject of an email sent on Thursday by Transport Minister Grant Shapps.

The fact that the elections in Tiverton focused on voters’ attitude towards Boris Johnson was not even questioned by the local Tory candidate. She was booed at times during several campaign appearances, and so often faced with questions about Johnson and his blocking parties that on Friday night she presented perhaps the most symbolic image of Johnson’s government today. While reporters waited for her comment in Tiverton, she simply locked herself in a room at the local dance studio.

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